Committee Criticises Translink Fare Increases

Synopsis: The Committee for Regional Development today denounced increases in the cost of travelling by bus and by rail. The information emerged during a presentation to the Committee from the Chief Executive of Translink, Catherine Mason, on the organisation’s corporate and business plan. The increases will see the cost of a bus journey rise by 3% and the cost of a train journey rise by 5%.

Session: 2012/2013

Date: 24 April 2013

Reference: CRD 05/03/13

The Committee for Regional Development today denounced increases in the cost of travelling by bus and by rail. The information emerged during a presentation to the Committee from the Chief Executive of Translink, Catherine Mason, on the organisation’s corporate and business plan.

The increases will see the cost of a bus journey rise by 3% and the cost of a train journey rise by 5%.

Speaking during the meeting, Chairperson of the Committee, Jimmy Spratt MLA, said: “Last year, Translink told us that they were facing £17m losses and the Committee stated that the Department would respond to Translink threats to increase fares with a bail out. We are proven to be right – almost £8 million of bail out money was given to Translink by the Department this past year.

“However, the Committee has now learned that Translink has also identified £5.8 million in ‘reserves’. We will be pressing the Department and Translink to identify the origin of these ‘reserves’, what levels of ‘reserves’ remain and why the public and taxpayers are bailing out a commercial organisation when it appears to be sitting on a substantial pot of money.

“The Department has tried to sugar-coat these increases by saying that rail fares will be held until 2015 and that these increases are less than any in the UK and Ireland. That will be of little consolation to those hard-pressed customers who have shown faith in Translink over the years, particularly in the very difficult economic situation in which we find ourselves. ”

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